In this stunningly designed and printed retrospective book, Ewald leads you into a world that is as eerie, haunting and threatening as it is joyous and mischievous—life as children really experience it. In 1969, when Wendy Ewald taught photography to children for the first time on a Native American reservation in Nova Scotia, she was stunned by how astute and beautiful their photographs of the environment they were growing up in were. Moving on to the Kentucky Appalachians, she continued working with children, in Colombia, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Holland, Mexico, and Durham, North Carolina, combining her own photographs with the children's photographs and writings. Secret Games offers a comprehensive overview of thirty years of Ewald's collaborative works, from 1969 to 1999, with in-depth texts by Ewald tracing the evolution of her work and the ideas guiding it.
“Sometimes I think I disguise myself as a teacher in order to make the pictures I need to see.”
“Judging by the children’s photographs, Ms. Ewald must be a terrifically inspirational teacher. She encouraged her students to take pictures without concern for aesthetics or social niceties. Many of their photographs are as beautiful, haunting and heartbreaking as anything in Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, Larry Fink or any number of photographers who focus on the rough poetry of everyday life. Images of their homes, families and friends are dark or washed out, grainy, blurry and formally off-kilter. Images based on dreams and fantasies are strange, scary, funny and often wrenchingly sad.
—Ken Johnson, The New York Times